Back from backpacking

Back from backpacking

My overnight backpacking trip in the Mt. Wilson area of the Angeles National Forest was instructive and fun.  I’ve done considerable group backpacking, this was my first solo trip. I planned it as a test trip for possible longer solo trips.

Things I learned.

1) Bring insect repellent even when you are sure it is so dry there couldn’t possibly be bugs.  There were, in fact, swarms of annoying gnats who enjoyed dancing in front of my eyes, especially on tricky parts on the trails.

2) Use your topographical maps!  This avoids unscheduled adventures such as two miles the wrong way because I was sure it was the right trail (it wasn’t).

I started at the top of Mt. Wilson, dropped 2800 vertical feet, camped in Devore Trail camp, then climbed up that 2,800 feet and went in the back way to Mt. Wilson – basically a circular route.  The final 3.5 mile route from Newcomb Pass to Mt. Wilson was marked “Closed – Hazardous conditions”. (Yes, I’d called the rangers and asked about the route, they said it was fine).  I ignored the sign, as I only had two quarts of water left, and the trail was fine, if a bit washed out in places.

I learned backpacking from the great folks at Adventure 16, a high-end outdoor supply firm with several stores in L.A. and San Diego.  If you live in the area and want to learn how to do backpacking or climbing, go on their trips.  They have trips at many skill levels – from overnights to serious treks in the High Sierras. Their goal is to teach you enough so you can do your own trips, and that’s just what they did with me.  Thanks A16!

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